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Old August 22nd, 2002, 02:37 PM   #1
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Matching PD-150 and XL1

I doing a documentary shoot of a music festival where we'll be using 2 XL1's (XL1, not XL1s) and a PD150 and want to know if anyone's tried matching them before. Any suggestions?

The trickiest part of the shoot will be filming a lit concert stage continuously from daytime thru dusk, to night. Cameras will be scattered so it won't be possible to white balance together at dusk and then when it's dark.

Thanks.
Jaclyn
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Old August 22nd, 2002, 05:40 PM   #2
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Hi Jaclyn,

As you point out it will be almost impossible to keep the cameras white balanced uniformly, so it will be imposible to match them. The XL1 does not have color adjustment (phase) like the XL1s does. I don't believe the Sony has that ability either. If you had a vector scope you could try custom white balances. However, as the day light changes and the stage lighting changes the cameras will drift.

Jeff
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Old August 22nd, 2002, 06:11 PM   #3
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As if you didn't have enough to worry about, matching picture sharpness will also be a problem. Like most of the Sony line, the PD-150 produces an extremely sharp image. (Too sharp for my taste, actually.) The XL1s features an adjustment that enables you to crank it's sharpness up to match the Sony. But I don't recall that the XL1 had this feature. Nor do I know if the PD-150 has an adjustment that might let you match the XL1.
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Old August 22nd, 2002, 06:56 PM   #4
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As others have said, color balance matching may be a little out of the question, given your setup. However, the Pd150, and xl1 arent horribly far apart in color when white balanced properly, and you should be able to fix most discrepancies in post. Perhaps you can go out the day before and shoot some test footage on each camera to see if anything is severely out of whack that you might need to fix ahead of time. (I typically use the incandescent preset white balance under concert lighting, as it keeps the changing colors looking pretty natural...perhaps comparing the cameras incandescent presets as well, using normal household lighting would be a good idea).

If the xl1 does have sharpening adjustment, I've found that a +2 increase works pretty well on the xl1s to match the pd150.

Additionally, I can think of three reasons you may want to use the PD150 for wide shots, and use the xl1's for close-ups and hand held....the pd 150 has a higher native resolution thus will do better wide (the xl1 can look mushy in wide shots), also color matching will be less important as the pd150 would have a different overall view than the xl1's; and the xl1's are better handheld cameras due to their larger size.

Barry
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Old August 23rd, 2002, 02:07 AM   #5
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The XL1 does not have a sharpening control. That feature was added to the XL1s, along with color control and 20 some other improvements.

Jeff
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Old August 23rd, 2002, 08:24 AM   #6
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Thanks for all of your comments. I didn't realize I was so doomed. :-)

I will do some tests with the incandescent settings before the shoot to test preset white balance on all cameras. That's also what I've normally used on the XL1 for other concert shoots.

Barry - your suggestion regarding camera placement is great, now I just need to convince the PD150 camera operator that shooting the wide shot is much more fun than standing on and around the stage.

Another thought I had RE white balance. If I can place (or have a PA hold) a whitecard/foamcore somewhere on the stage where the lighting will be consistent (and not colored), then each camera can periodically white balance to that.

Looks like I'll be fixing all this in post...
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Old August 23rd, 2002, 10:23 AM   #7
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If you are really worried about it not matching, and you expect to spend hours and hours in post fixing it, AND you are getting paid to do it, why not rent an XL1 to replace the PD150 and save yourself all the time and trouble? Might be worth it.
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Old August 23rd, 2002, 12:44 PM   #8
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Unfortunately the budget (which is almost non-existent) allows for either a camera rental OR paying a camera operator. I opted to pay a camera operator.
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Old August 23rd, 2002, 01:54 PM   #9
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I would worry so much about the white balance. MTV had some concert footage on today amd there was a remarkable difference between soom of the shoots. Why? The local color from the theatrical lighting is impossible to correct for 100% of the time. I would use the sharpness of the pd150 to my advantage. Not only the use it to help the wide, establishing shots, but use it for real tight close ups, for cut aways. People expect shots up close to be very sharp, so play up to their expectations. It'll also make your shooter happier.

Jeff
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Old August 23rd, 2002, 02:52 PM   #10
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hmmm...have you looked into warmcards.com

They provide a solution for white balancing cameras no matter what the lighting conditions are. I was online where Doug Graham mentioned it in his list of useful things to have. The complete set is $99.
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Old August 23rd, 2002, 03:57 PM   #11
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Spotlight Mode

I've taped numerous outdoor theatre productions in which I ran into the exact same problems. I use an XL1S and found the shots in which I left the gain on automatic or zero while using spotlight mode consistently came out the best. I also set the white balance to outdoor until sunset, then wait for a break in the performance to switch it to indoor. In my opinion, outdoor theatre lighting is simply too dynamic to set manual white balance. Granted, these results are from and XL1S which has slightly better low-light capability than the XL1.

Give the spotlight mode a try and don't underestimate the automatic settings on the XL1.
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Old August 26th, 2002, 10:04 AM   #12
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The XL1 auto settings are great if you're only using an XL1...but I'm also using trying to match to the PD150. Yesterday we did a couple of tests with the PD150 and XL1 comparing manual white balance in tungsten and daylight and the same with the presets. I'll be looking at the results tonight.

About the warm cards, I'm confused: I'm not trying to change the color, just ensure that all cameras white balance to the same lighting conditions.

After reading everyone's suggestions, I've decided to stick to my original plan. Rotate camerapeople/cameras in different positions throughout the night and just white balance as best we can. Thank you all for your input.

4 days til the shoot!

On a similar note, I watched Jazz on a Summer's Day this weekend. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in cinematography/shooting concerts - it's absolutely gorgeous. I heard of it b/c Scorcese mentions it in the audio commentary of The Last Waltz.
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Old October 11th, 2002, 08:59 AM   #13
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Warm Cards

daremo.... great idea on those warm cards!

I toured their site, and couldn't help but order a set. I always thought that the white balance could be fooled to improve a shot, but haven't seen a viable solution in action.

I'll be sure to post my comments after I've had a chance to use them!
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Old October 11th, 2002, 08:48 PM   #14
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One thing I tried when we had one less camera operator than cameras (2 guys, 3 cams) was to set the far camera (rear dead center location) on lockdown and have that operator leave it and grab the stage camera to do the closeups. This saved hiring a third man or pulling me out of the booth.
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Old October 12th, 2002, 04:49 PM   #15
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Perfect matching /calibrating video pictures is a difficult story ...It is allmost impossible to perfectly colormatch two camera's unless we talk about real studio broadcast camera's. Why?... Simply because not all elements are available to be adjusted. Splitscreen evaluations will convince everybody about this difficulty. I have personally been involved numerous times in color calibration and colormatching issues at the output side however, which is almost the same problem. White balancing and contrast matching are not the only players in this story. They will match the (monochrome)highlights. Lowlight matching ( setup tolerances) is mostly neglected, though very important. Grayscale tracking ( differential RGB gamma) is another still monochrome issue. On the color level, of course, saturation matching is a must, but also hue matching comes into play. This means basically that the chroma components (R-Y/B-Y) in component based systems need to be matched too. For NTSC encoded signals, in addition also the burst/chroma phases have to match (vectorscope) too. A last point, only for camera matching, is that they need to be intergenlocked when used in environements where incandescent lights together with (mains fed) discharge lighting is being used. This is to avoid slowly shifting white (un)balance.
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